An ideal pairing: Inkjet and UV
m print morlock gmbh + co. kg from Baiersbronn presented the latest generation of UV inkjet printing systems for label printing for the first time at the UV Days event organised by UV supplier IST METZ in Nürtingen (16 to 19 May 2011). This new model, identified as LP 2000 NG, boasts a printing width of 215 mm at a material width of 260 mm (10''). The maximum printing speed is 48 m/min. It boasts an overall UV concept that integrates two different systems. For the UV end-of-press drying, an MBS-5 LI UV unit from IST METZ is used. During the printing stage prior to this, a pinning takes place for each individual ink using VTwin Plus LED UV units. The three pinning modules, each 80 mm wide, are manufactured by the company Integration Technology Ltd. (ITL) with whom IST METZ has recently entered a strategic partnership. The system is also equipped with an inline converting unit for stamping, cross cutting, slitting, punching and perforating processes.
Inkjet quality at the highest level
With the new printing system, Managing Director Michael Morlock is looking to meet the requirements of the labelling market with a flexible solution for manufacturing small to medium-sized print runs. The scope of application ranges from simple identification labels to make-up labels for the cosmetics industry.
Experience has been gained in the pairing of inkjet printing and UV technology since 2007. Using what is known as the "pinning method", ink drops can be "gelled" every colour print so that the shape of the printer dots doesn't change. This significantly improves the accuracy of the printing result and the print image appears much sharper even with small fonts and thin lines.
With an output of 1.5 W/cm², the VTwin LED pinning systems meet the requirements of this application. And despite sufficient output, they are compact and light. The altogether 240 mm-wide units can be dimmed and work with an air cooler. Pinning can be used for the printing of plastics, as well as the processing of coated and uncoated paper.
Variable dryer position
A high-performance MBS-5 LI UV unit with a lamp length of 250 mm and an electrical output of up to 270 W/cm is used for the end-of-press drying. The UV system is fitted with fast lamp change (FLC), URS reflector and electronic power supply device (ELC). The position of the end-of-press dryer can be dynamically adjusted using a linear drive, allowing for the adjustment of the distance to the respective printing speeds and the differing viscosity of the inks used. The correct position is generally determined during setup. The UV unit reserves enough power to allow for higher web speeds, with even more dynamic print heads to be expected in the future.
The sophisticated heat management system is based on cooled air, which also includes an air-cooled undershielding. In order to stabilise the air flow, the system is closed using a quartz glass plate. Filter mats minimise the risk of contamination to the lamps and reflectors.
Improved print image with hybrid machine
In order to extend the application range of the machine, m print have gone one step further. Through the combination of both inkjet and thermo-transfer digital printing procedures, an unexpected variety of additional finishing options such as high-coverage white or high-gloss metallic effects, as well as the opportunity to imprint or incorporate safety features, has resulted.
With the LP 2000 label printing system, ten years on the market already, m print has gained enough experience in thermo-transfer printing. The one- to 4-colour print has a resolution of 400 dpi. This comprehensively developed system is user-friendly and combines the technology of this printing procedure with a variety of processing options. Work steps such as lamination, stamping, cross cutting, slitting, punching and perforation can be carried out in a single step. A variety of continuous materials such as plastic and metal composite film, coated fabric and paper can be used as print carriers.
Synergy effects for three procedures
In addition to the inkjet label printing and the thermo-transfer printing, the scope of products offered by m print also comprises machines for pad printing. A modern production site has been set up in Baiersbronn-Mitteltal, north of the Black Forest, where a team of 12 employees currently works. This is where the various printing machines are developed and manufactured. Given the excellent capacity lined up for the coming months, Michael Morlock sees potential for more growth with these special machines.
The company has benefitted for years from its close collaboration with Morlock Präzisionstechnik e.K., located in the same building and responsible for manufacturing the high-quality components used by m print. This technological platform generates further useful synergy effects thanks to the many developments implemented for all three printing procedures, such as in parts supply and integration solutions. This results in shorter test phases and the use of proven components ensures reliability, not to mention saving on time and costs.